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Anacamptis pyramidalis var. albiflora - Pyramidal Orchid, white variety

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

A white Pyramidal Orchid photographed in Hampshire in 2014

Above: a white Pyramidal Orchid, Hampshire, 2014

The white variant of the Pyramidal Orchid is a rare find in the UK although it has been recorded as having established stable colonies in a few sites; most often, however, when white-flowered specimens are found they are growing within colonies of pink flowered Pyramidal Orchids.

White Pyramidal Orchids, East Anglia

Above: White-flowered specimens within a colony of pink-flower Pyramidal Orchids, East Anglia

Description

The flowers are pure white and the spur is somewhat shorter than that of the pink flowered form.

Distribution

Although it is the pink form of this orchid that is most widespread and occurs in vast numbers in some locations, it is always worth looking out for a white specimen since they appear in the same locations as the pink form. We have not yet personally seen this variant of the Pyramidal Orchid in the UK, but there are colonies to be found in France, Greece, Portugal and in Italy.

Anacamptis pyramidalis var. albiflora, France

Habitat

The white form of Pyramidal Orchid occurs in the same kinds of habitats as the pink-coloured Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis, and both colour variants bloom at much the same time. The specimen shown above was photographed in the Lot Valley, France, in late May.

Pink together with white Pyramidal Orchids, Toby Wright

Pink and white varieties of Pyramidal Orchid, Stockbridge, Hants 2017

Flowering times

In Britain during a good year Pyramidal Orchids will appear in their thousands from early June until late July. Further south in Europe Pyramidal Orchids start flowering in March and April. The white variety flowers at the same times, although it is very scarce.

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Carol Booker and Toby Wright.

Reference sources

The Plant List

Sue Parker (2016) Wild Orchids of Wales - how, when and where to find them; First Nature

Sue Parker (2014) Wild Orchids of the Algarve - how, when and where to find them; First Nature

Anne and Simon Harrap (2005) Orchids of Britain and Ireland; A&C Black

Pierre Delforge (2005) Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East; A&C Black


If you found this information helpful, we are sure you would also like books on the Wild Orchids of Wales, of The Burren, and of the Algarve. Author-signed copies are available here...

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